Posts Tagged ‘niagara falls’

Viewing Niagara Falls from the bow of the Maid of the Mist

In The Beautiful Mystery, book eight of Louise Penny’s Inspector Garmache series, one of the homicide investigators is sitting at the bow of a boat as it speeds across the water, reveling in the spray of water peppering his face.

The writing reminded me of all the times in my life that I, too, have claimed the bow of a boat.

My first experiences were simply sitting up front as someone else drove a motorboat around a lake. Then I discovered white-water rafting when I was 40. From the first, I wanted to be up front.

Never was I happier than facing an oncoming wild wave with only a paddle to defend myself. If I plunged the paddle just right into the oncoming torrent, I would both be able to help pull the raft through the onslaught and be held firmly in the raft.

Misjudge, and the wave would eat you and not so gently toss you around in a maelstrom of fast-running water and currents. If you were lucky, it would finally let your life jacket float you to the life-giving air above. I lost the wave battle a few times during my white-water days – but I was lucky.

Why would somebody do something so stupid, you might ask? I think, back then, I might have said because it’s fun, exhilarating. Thinking on it now, I know it was more than that. I don’t consider myself brave, as my ski instructors well knew from my fear of pointing my skis downhill. I don’t try to beat red lights and these days I always hold on to railings when I walk up or down stairs.

But I think each of us might need just a little something to let us know we’re truly alive. For me, it was sitting up front in a boat and being drenched with spray, or as close to that as I could get.

 I also remember a time when I scrambled my way through a crowd of tourists to grab a front-row view on the Maid of Mist for a water-drenching view at the bottom of Niagara Falls. The ferry, which has operated since the mid 1800s, takes passengers quite close to the falls. I got so drenched that the blue plastic poncho handed to me as I boarded the boat was totally useless. But the exhilaration lasted for hours – as did my wet jeans.

Louise Penny’s words brought back all those magical memories so clearly that I suspect she might have sat at the bow of a boat a time or two herself.

Pat Bean is a retired award-winning journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon (Free on Kindle Unlimited), and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

Read Full Post »

“It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.” – Frederick Douglass

The Hurricane Deck

On the way up to the Hurricane Deck and the full fury of Niagara Falls. I loved it. — Photo by Pat Bean

During my 2006 visit to Niagara Falls, I braved a claustrophobic elevator ride down through rock so I could view the falls up close and personal from the vantage point of what is known as the Hurricane Deck.

This bright orange wooden platform, reached by a looping series of walkways and steps leading to and from it, sits only 20 feet from the full force of the mighty falls.

The Fisherman by Joseph Mallard William Turner

As I stood on the deck in the useless yellow rain poncho handed out to tourists, being pummeled by the force of the water and deafened by its roar, I thought about J. M. William Turner. This artist, best known for the fantastic light he brought to his paintings, once had himself tied to a mast so he could both experience and observe a storm’s fury.

I once wrote an essay about Turner for a college art class. I wondered how much better the paper might have been if I had experienced the Hurricane Deck before doing so.

Book Report: Travels with Maggie is now up to 38,744 words. My blog today is a short blurb from the chapter that talks about my virgin visit to Niagara Falls. It was a good writing morning, especially since I only worked on the book for half an hour.  I have a busy day ahead. I’m doing the 100-mile round trip to Twin Falls from Lake Walcott to visit friends and stock up.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Green Herons http://tinyurl.com/8fehyzw If only we were all as smart as green herons. This one’s for all my fellow bird watchers. It includes a short You Tube video of one smart fishing bird.


Read Full Post »

 “I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.” Kurt Vonnegut

Close Enough To Get Drenched  

I joined the throngs on the Cave of the Winds’ deck because I didn’t just want to see Niagara Falls, I wanted to be close enough to touch it. And I did, close enough so that the flimsy yellow raincoat I was loaned was as worthless as a pen with no ink. — Photo by Pat Bean

“The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.” Henry Miller

Read Full Post »

 “The heart has its reasons that reason knows nothing of.” Blaise Pascal

I married twice, but never had a honeymoon. So I took myself to Niagara Falls. What a beautiful sight. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie

Seeing as how my choices of men as soul mates were always poor ones, today is not a lovey-dovey sentimental one for me, although I truly rejoice for those who enjoy it as such..

While it wasn’t always so, I am quite happy that my only domestic partner is my canine traveling companion, Maggie. I think the choices I made in my life led me to this point, perhaps because I subconsciously always knew it was the end I truly wanted.


My first great-grandchild. He's 2 now and one of the loves of my life. Happy Valentine's Day Junior. -- Photo by Baron Marsh

And just because I don’t have a significant other, doesn’t mean I don’t have love or passion in my life.

My friends (both male and female), children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren provide the love. While I married the wrong man, the union did provide me with five wonderful children. And because of that, I can have no regrets.

Books, writing, nature, birds, travel and a zest for life, meanwhile, provide all the passion my old-broad libido needs these days.

I don’t think I have settled. I think it is truly who I am. I feel like I finally fit in my own skin.

So Happy Valentine’s Day to all those out there who are enjoying it with a person of their choice, and happy hunting to all those still seeking that special someone. Just don’t forget to live your life while you’re looking.

And may the rest of us just enjoy a happy day. And the same tomorrow, tomorrow and tomorrow …

Bean’s Pat: Horsetail Fire Falls http://photobotos.com/2012/02/13/horsetail-fire-falls A rare photograph captures why this waterfall was so named. Absolutely awesome! But then I’m a nature lover.

Read Full Post »

Everyone should visit Niagara Falls at least once -- even if it's not on their honeymoon. -- Photo by Pat Bean They provided us with yellow raincoats to keep us dry, but when one walks on the storm deck right below the falls, a raincoat is worthless. -- Photo by Pat Bean

 My Favorite Places

All rivers, even the most dazzling, those that catch the sun in their course … go down to the ocean and drown. And life awaits man as the sea awaits the river.” – Simone Schwarz-Bart

NaNoWri Mo Update

2 days, 10 hours,  25 minutes – and still counting — to go

I’ve started going to bed thinking about the novel I will be writing in November, hoping inspiration about the proposed book will invade my dreams.

Last night it worked, although it was while I was still lying awake and not yet into dreamland. I thought of a new twist for the mystery that makes logical sense to the plot.

Of course then it took hours, or so it seemed, before I made it into dreamland. And then the only thing I dreamt about  was silly stuff, like climbing a tree in search of a fish and coming face to face with a grizzly bear and then watching it turn into a stuffed teddy bear.

Does anyone else have such weird dreams?

Read Full Post »